5 Ways to Eat Healthier While Also Saving Money
Let's Face it: Healthy = Expensive
In our society, it is way cheaper to buy yourself or your family a meal from McDonald's than it is to construct a filling meal that consists of healthy food; however, there are a few ways that you can change your diet to make it that much healthier while also saving some money.
1. Plan Your Meals
Whether you are a college student or a working parent (or any other kind of person), one sure fire way to keep a handle on your finances while trying to eat healthy is to plan your meals for the week. By sitting down on Sunday and making a list, it is harder to spontaneously go out for dinner or grab fast food because you aren't sure what you want for dinner. This also means that you have a list with you when you g to the grocery store, which is an excellent way to avoid the candy and chip aisle to pick up little extra snack foods that you don't need. So not only are you saving money by not splurging on that bag of Doritos and those Red Vines, but you also are avoiding a major temptation in your kitchen.
2. No More Soda!
One of the simplest ways to start feeling better and stop consuming excess sugar is to stop drinking soda. It's so easy to order a soda when you're out to dinner or crack open a can of Coke while you're watching TV or doing work that you hardly notice that you've been drinking far more sugar than you might want to. Once you cut this beast from your life, you'll find yourself far more hydrated and with much more energy for your day to day life.
But how does this save you money? Well, in restaurants and fast food places water is free and soda typically costs around $2 or $3. Suddenly your meals are costing a few dollars less AND you feel better about what you're drinking. Not to mention cutting the cost of soda from your grocery list enables you to either save a few bucks for something else or let's you buy a healthy snack instead. Those little dollars definitely add up!
3. Portion Sizes
This one is the kicker--and the one that a lot of diet programs try to focus on. Cutting portion sizes is one of the best things that you can do for both your health and your wallet. It's been proven time and time again that American food places dish out larger portions than one really needs and that breeds an expectation for larger sizes at other food places and at home. Cutting those portion sizes, a little bit at a time, allows your body to get used to consuming smaller amounts.
And of course, by cutting portion sizes, you also cut your food spending. At restaurants this may not be a change of more than a few bucks, but at the grocery store it means that the things that you buy will last longer. And fewer trips to the store mean fewer swipes of your debit card.
4. Set Rules
This one sort of relates to the planning out of your meals; set rules for yourself. They might be simple, like "No snacks after 8pm," but giving yourself a set of rules will also give you goals, whether it be for the week, the month, or even the entire year. This also is a rule for your spending; maybe your rule is that for every planned meal, at least one central ingredient is something that is on sale or something that you have a coupon for. This is another one of those penny-saving tips, so it may not seem like it makes a huge difference at first, but those pennies add up and in the long run you'll be better off for it!
What's your favorite healthy snack?
5. Eat Local
Now that it's summer, the Farmer's Market is open for business. And most of the time, locally grown and sold food (like the food at farmer's markets) is cheaper than the food you might find at a larger grocery chain. That being said, shopping for produce at the Farmer's Market also keeps you away from the temptations that live in larger grocery stores; you are less likely to come across candy and chips, processed food, and junk food.
Bonus: Shopping local is also incredibly valuable for your community and is a great way to eat both clean AND green.
These are just a few simple ways to start introducing healthier habits in your life (and a way to keep a few bucks in your wallet). In other words, this is just the start! The most important part about living a healthy lifestyle is keeping with it. So don't be afraid to start simple and form healthy habits and don't be afraid to reach out to do more for yourself.